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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Maisel, Director of Communications
[email protected]
(717) 255-7295

June 2, 2022

HARRISBURG — Spotted lanternfly season has returned to the City of Harrisburg. City residents, however, can do their part to eliminate this invasive species with traps available entirely free.

The City of Harrisburg Parks and Recreation Department is offering circle traps to residents free of charge. Anyone needing one can pick up at the Reservoir Park Mansion, located at 100 Concert Drive, between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. between Monday and Friday.

Spotted lanternflys are distinguishable by the black dots on their wings. If you see one, squash it immediately.

If you are seeing spotted lanternfly nymphs on trees near you, two types of traps can be effective in capturing them before they mature: sticky bands and circle traps. The insects habitually fall from the trees and climb back up the trunks to feed. Both traps capture them as they climb upward. Sticky bands are simply made of flypaper wrapped tightly around the tree trunk, with nylon window screening tacked loosely in place·over the band to protect non-target insects, birds, and small mammals from also being caught. Circle traps are essentially upside down funnels made of window screening and wrapped tightly around-the trunk. As the insects climb upward into the funnel, they are directed into a plastic bag from which they can’t escape.

With piercing/ sucking mouthparts, the lanternfly feeds on the sap of a wide variety of trees and woody plants. Its favorite food is ailanthus or “tree of heaven,” an invasive non-native tree species. Other preferred species include walnut, silver maple, red maple, willow, Londonplane, tulip poplar, some oaks, sumac, grapevine, and oriental bittersweet. While spotted lanternflys generally do not kill established trees outright, it can kill young trees and suppress the growth of heavily infested larger-trees. The insects do not bite or hurt people or pets, but do create a significant nuisance in outdoor living spaces.

Their eggs hatch in late April and early May and the insects go through four developmental stages as nymphs before becoming adults. The first three stages of nymphs are black with bright white spots, about 1/8-.½ inch long. The fourth stage nymph is red with white and black spots. The adult is a leafhopper with grey wings with black spots, and a bright red under wing.

At the present stage they are not yet causing much of a problem, but as they grow to adulthood, they secrete a sticky substance called “honeydew” as they feed. This substance can cover leaves as well as anything beneath the tree- including outdoor furniture, awnings, decks, toys, whatever. A black sooty mold is attracted to the honeydew and can cover any surface where honeydew falls.

Beginning in July as the adults emerge, another option is to treat a tree heavily infested with lanterflys with a systemic insecticide to kill the insects as they feed. Ortho Tree and Shrub Insect Control Granules is a product available to homeowners which, when applied as directed on the label, is effective in killing spotted lanternflys.

Penn State Extension offers excellent written material and instructional videos about spotted lanternfly on their website:

Frequently Asked Questions

Management Resources

Insecticidal Soaps

  • Nontoxic to birds, fish, and bees
  • A contact insecticide that will kill the insect when it contacts the insect’s body
  • Requires thorough coverage of the insect’s body and works for a short time
  • Repeat applications permitted
  • Can be used on all stages of the insect

Horticultural Oil

  • Data not available on toxicity to birds, fish, or bees
  • A contact insecticide that kills the insect when it contacts the insect’s body
  • Requires thorough coverage of the insect’s body and works for a short time  
  • Repeat applications permitted
  • Can be used on all stages of the insect

Systemic Insecticide with Active Ingredient DINOTEFURON—

  • Slightly toxic to birds and fish
  • Highly toxic to bees
  • Is mixed with water and applied to the soil around the base of the tree as a “soil drench”
  • Measure the circumference of the tree trunk to determine how much chemical to use
  • Is taken up by the tree and kills insects when they feed on the tree
  • Apply from July to September (IMPORTANT: Chemical will also kill pollinators taking up nectar or pollen from the tree; do not apply while tree is in flower)   

“Ortho Tree and Shrub Insect Control” – from the product label

  • Trunk diameter is used to determine amount of chemical to use.
  • To determine diameter, measure circumference at chest height with a flexible tape measure.
  • Divide circumference by 3.14 to get diameter.

READ THE LABEL CAREFULLY

Systemic Insecticide with Active Ingredient IMIDACLOPRID—

  • Moderately toxic to birds, fish, and bees
  • Is mixed with water and applied to the soil around the base of the tree as a “soil drench”
  • Measure the circumference of the tree trunk to determine how much chemical to use
  • Is taken up by the tree and kills insects when they feed on the tree
  • Apply from after flowering until July (IMPORTANT: Chemical will also kill pollinators taking up nectar or pollen from the tree if applied while tree is flowering.)    

“Bioadvanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Insect Control” – from the product label

  • Trunk circumference is used to determine amount of chemical to use.
  • Measure circumference at chest height with a flexible tape measure.

READ THE LABEL CAREFULLY

Systemic Insecticide with Active Ingredient IMIDACLOPRID—

  • Moderately toxic to birds, fish, and bees
  • Is mixed with water and applied to the soil around the base of the tree as a “soil drench”
  • Measure the circumference of the tree trunk to determine how much chemical to use
  • Is taken up by the tree and kills insects when they feed on the tree
  • Apply from after flowering until July (IMPORTANT: Chemical will also kill pollinators taking up nectar or pollen from the tree if applied while tree is flowering.)   

“Bonide Annual Tree and & Shrub Insect Control” – from the product label

  • Trunk circumference is used to determine amount of chemical to use.
  • Measure circumference at chest height with a flexible tape measure.

READ THE LABEL CAREFULLY!


Warning on Systemic Insecticides about potential harmfulness to bees and other pollinators